MLB Playoffs: Perez a Royal hero

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Salvador Perez's single down the left field line capped a two-run, 12th-inning rally, and the Kansas City Royals stunned the Oakland Athletics 9-8 Tuesday in the American League wild-card game.

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The Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez reacts after hitting a walk-off single against the Oakland Athletics during the 12th inning of the American League Wild Card playoff game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals won 9-8. USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Salvador Perez 's single down the left field line capped a two-run, 12th-inning rally, and the  Kansas City Royals  stunned the  Oakland Athletics 9-8 Tuesday in the  American League  wild-card game.

The Royals advance to play the Los Angeles Angels in the  American League  division series.

A sell-out crowd of 40,502 watched the first postseason game in Kansas City since 1985, and the home team prevailed after trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning and then falling behind 8-7 in the 12th.

First baseman  Eric Hosmer  launched a triple off the top of the wall in left-center off  Oakland  reliever  Dan Otero  with one out in the bottom of the 12th. Designated hitter Christian Colon  then hit a high-chop infield hit to score Hosmer.

Left fielder  Alex Gordon  popped out to third, but Colon stole second. Perez, the Royals' catcher, then ripped a single past third baseman  Josh Donaldson  to score Colon with the winning run.


Brandon Finnegan , a September call-up who was the Royals' first-round draft pick this June, pitched two scoreless innings before walking right fielder  Josh Reddick  to lead off the top of the 12th. Reddick scored the go-ahead run on a single by  Alberto Callaspo  off  Jason Frasor , but the Royals kept coming back.

Frasor picked up the win, while Otero took the loss.

Designated hitter  Brandon Moss  belted two long home runs, but it was not enough for  Oakland . He hit a two-run shot in the top of the first off  James Shields . After theRoyals rallied to take a 3-2 lead heading to the sixth inning, Moss belted his second home run of the game, this time a three-run blast, to put  Oakland  back on top.

Jon Lester , who was picked up by the A's just before the trade deadline, struggled early. Unlike Shields, he got things under control for a while. He retired 12 batters in a row at one point. However, he stumbled in the eighth and ended up allowing six runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Shields lasted just two batters into the sixth inning. He gave up four runs on five hits.

In the eighth, Kansas City shortstop  Alcides Escobar  rolled a single past  Oakland  shortstop  Jed Lowrie  and stole second. Escobar moved to third on right fielder  Nori Aoki 's grounder to second. Center fielder  Lorenzo Cain  drove home Escobar with a line drive up the middle.

Cain then stole second and Hosmer walked, bringing up designated hitter  Billy Butler  as the tying run and bringing an end to the night for Lester.

Butler lined a single to right off reliever  Luke Gregerson , scoring Cain and driving Hosmer to third.  Terrance Gore  pinch-ran for Butler and promptly stole second. A wild pitch by Gregerson scored Hosmer to cut  Oakland 's lead to 7-6, but the Royals wound up leaving the tying run at third base when Perez and second baseman  Omar Infante  struck out.


Josh Willingham  led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single off A's closer  Sean DoolittleJarrod Dyson  pinch-ran. Escobar bunted Dyson to second. Dyson then stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aoki to tie the score and send the game to extra innings.

The expected pitchers' duel didn't materialize.

Shields, who was brought to Kansas City in a trade for the Royals' top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers, prior to the 2013 season to pitch in big games, allowed five baserunners in the first three innings. Lester, who came into the game with a 2.11 ERA in 13 career postseason starts, struggled early as well. He gave up three runs on five hits in the first three innings.

The A's struck first in the top of the first. Moss launched an 0-1 pitch 407 feet into the seats behind the A's bullpen in right field for a 2-0 lead. Center fielder  Coco Crisp singled leading off the game and scored on the home run.

Butler answered in the bottom of the first with a two-out RBI single, scoring Aoki and moving Hosmer to third. Butler then wandered too far off base and got caught in a rundown. Hosmer was tagged out at home trying to score.

Kansas City took the lead in the third when center fielder  Lorenzo Cain  pulled a double down the left-field line, scoring third baseman  Mike Moustakas  who led off with a single. Hosmer then drove in Cain with a bloop hit to left field.

NOTES: A's C  Geovany Soto  was replaced in the bottom of the third inning by C  Derek Norris . Soto sustained a left thumb injury on the tag play at home plate in the bottom of the first inning. ... Seven members of the Athletics' wild-card roster had not played in the postseason prior to Tuesday, including DH  Adam Dunn , who didn't get off the bench in  Oakland 's loss. Dunn has played in 2,001 major league games, the most among active players without appearing in the playoffs. ... A's LHP  Eric O'Flaherty , a reliever, was left off the wild-card roster. His surgically repaired left arm developed soreness. ... Royals OF  Terrance Gore  made the wild-card roster after being called up Aug. 31. He appeared in 11 games, nine as a pinch runner. ... RHP  James Shields  is one of five Royals with prior postseason experience (RHP  Wade Davis , OF  Raul Ibanez , 2B  Omar Infante  and INF  Jayson Nix ).

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